Wine Unearthed

Romance Between the Vines

August 06, 2019 Margaret River Busselton Tourism Association Season 1 Episode 2
Wine Unearthed
Romance Between the Vines
Chapters
Wine Unearthed
Romance Between the Vines
Aug 06, 2019 Season 1 Episode 2
Margaret River Busselton Tourism Association

From plans to plough the vineyard to getting married between the grapevines: how one couple’s meeting saved a winery. Also in this podcast, when a bromance leads to rock songs being bottled and the love story of two adventurous winemakers.

 

Show Notes Transcript

From plans to plough the vineyard to getting married between the grapevines: how one couple’s meeting saved a winery. Also in this podcast, when a bromance leads to rock songs being bottled and the love story of two adventurous winemakers.

 

Speaker 1:

Welcome to one unearthed this podcast takes you behind the scenes of the Margaret River wine making region in Western Australia, the very place named best in Asia Pacific by travel authority, lonely planet. It's produced for you by your Margaret River region and the Margaret River Wine Association. My name's flo manger . I'm a food and travel journalist and I'll be taking you through this gorgeous spot, tasting the one, meeting the people and breathing in the surrounds. Do you reckon it's fair to say that good food and wine might lend themselves to couples falling in love for me ? Wow .

Speaker 2:

There is something magical about perhaps the aide or the general ambiance of Margaret River. I guess for most of us, we go from a place where life is a bit more hectic, a to a much more laid back and visually absolutely ravishing spawn . And you know, even the, the parts of Margaret River that we see most often, you know, really

Speaker 1:

reaching sort of natural beauty, plenty of love in the air in Margaret River. And in this podcast we're going to meet three joys to Folan hard as they've crushed grapes, fermented juices, and made spectacular wine. Two of the couples have gone on to tie the knot , but the third, well it's more of a bromance between two mates. It was like not ticks . People were talking in the , in the town. They were serious conversations about where this was going and what does it mean for, for us. Hello, I'm flirt and I'm here with wine critic Peter Forrestal . So before we explore these Western Australian loves stories, let's say for the thing they're all passionate about one, right? What are we about to put to the lips here ?

Speaker 2:

This is the 2016 luminous state penal wash shod night . So it's a bubbly made by Lewin , which is a specialist shod night produce a really, so not that often seen, but yeah, a really vibrant sparkling wine. I just had a little try . It's delicious. [inaudible] Yup , it's mouth. Puckering lovely finishes . Well this , that Christmas on the finish

Speaker 1:

when you're drinking the aids , especially after you've had a couple, do you start to think about the place and get a little bit dreamyard? Hmm. The thing that I think about mush with Margaret River is the quality of the one, the purity of the wine. You know, it doesn't get much better. Charge your glass because we're about to meet Sasha and Ben McDonald from one of Margaret River's youngest wineries. Glen out he road , she's the one maker and he's the vineyard and they live and work in the far southern end of the region outside Caradigm . Ben and I actually met right here in the driveway. It was about five years

Speaker 3:

ago.

Speaker 4:

I came before I started work to just have a quick look at this Shiraz that Ben was growing down here.

Speaker 3:

I'd actually decided that I was pulling all the vineyard out, so I booked a month trip to Byron Bay. A surfboard . Yes . Three days before I flew out. Am Sasha showed up in the driveway wanting to buffer it to start around one label .

Speaker 4:

So yeah, it was seven o'clock. I rocked up in the driveway and Ben was was late as usual.

Speaker 3:

Yeah. Um , I did fit in an early morning. Steph . Yeah, it was hard to get out in the water.

Speaker 4:

So you wrapped up with a surf board on the roof and just throwing some thoughts and some bodies that was actually about to leave cause he was so late.

Speaker 3:

I'm glad I caught her on the way out. Yeah, very lucky. Otherwise we wouldn't be here today.

Speaker 5:

Oh ,

Speaker 1:

needless to say Ben didn't pull out the 10 hectors of grapevines that he planted when he was 19 years old. Instead the pair got acquainted as those charettes grapes were crushed and barreled.

Speaker 3:

We went up to the winery where it was getting made every day or every second day to watch the progress of the fermentation and then barreling it down. And that's how we got to know each other over the , uh , 2014 sharez .

Speaker 1:

What'd you normally have been that interested in how a particular parcel of grapes were fermenting ?

Speaker 3:

No, no , not at all. That there was a, yes, there was a bit of chemistry at play there too. I think

Speaker 1:

the couple's first date was typically Margaret River.

Speaker 4:

When we were processing the fruit. We were talking about what we love that Margaret River. And to me, I love the fact that you can always go on adventures and explore and find different things and the coastlines just so intricate as well. And we were talking about these hidden caves because we all know that Margaret River has hundreds of hidden caves. There's a quite a few that are on the tourist map. So yeah, first date was going searching in the bush for one of the , um , the hidden caves that he used to go to when he was younger

Speaker 1:

on new years eve in 2017 the couple held their wedding in the vineyard fittingly. The Shiraz that brought them together was a feature.

Speaker 4:

We actually got married on what we call the Shiraz bar. We built a couple of portable bars throughout the vineyard, which we predominantly used to take people on progressive tastings through the vineyard. But we use the shreds bar, which is nestled in this avenue of spotted gum trees. It's quite stunning. It's elevated throughout the vineyard. The funniest thing about the wedding was the fact that we got a quote from our commercial caterer to do the food for our wedding and it was going to be about 20 grand. So we thought, well maybe instead of getting a catering we'll expand our kitchen.

Speaker 3:

We didn't have a kitchen for the celador back then. Granny had a toaster sandwich maker. And uh , after getting a few quotes for cannibis for our wedding, I decided it would be cheaper to build a kitchen. I build enough table so that we could say to 150 people for the evening meal and yeah, very memorable new years eve .

Speaker 6:

And then you had to set up for a restaurant and including the tables outside. Yeah. Yes, yes.

Speaker 3:

Sasha. It was quite hard for her to wear Qatar, my table building enthusiasm cause uh , you know, with the shed full of timber. But yeah, we have seating for nearly 200 people outside. It's good fun.

Speaker 6:

Now Glen Rt road has a flat out restaurant where the love of food one and the farm is part of every mouthful. Well, we aim for about 40% of what we grow here to make it through to the kitchen. So obviously we try and grow a lot of the mates . All the lamb is ours. We've got a couple of thousand shapes , so that makes us my on the menu in the right seasons and then, yeah, lots of veggies. Fruit, we've got, you know

Speaker 3:

cows as well. Yeah. Grazing around at the moment. Yeah . Pigs last year that did had rotary hound in the veggie patches. They made it to the restaurant. [inaudible]

Speaker 6:

that's amazing. The way you, you're really quite well stood up for what this has evolved into, but it sounds to me like Sasha was the missing ingredient to making that all happen. Is that how you would say it ?

Speaker 3:

Oh . Oh, d definitely has shared passion. Makes it 10 times better.

Speaker 6:

Aw ,

Speaker 7:

beautiful. Very good .

Speaker 1:

Let's travel now to another small young winery. This time with the rock and roll edge. Tiny Davis and Redmond Sweeny got to know each other at an Auskick game. The Red was coaching and Tony's kids were playing in. Red was toying with the idea of quitting his day job and Tony was keen to go it alone in his field when they realized they both wanted to start a wine label and one that was a little bit out of the box. It was a light bulb moment because their skill sets in marketing and wine-making made them the perfect match.

Speaker 7:

It was, you know , like not techs coming up with wine strategies and our wives starting to get worried.

Speaker 1:

That's when the bromance began.

Speaker 7:

Well , there's a couple of serious conversations about we know where this was going and what does it mean for us. And then people were talking in the, in the town they were, yeah. That was really the , the birth of, of snake and Harry ,

Speaker 6:

the winery name isn't just catchy. It's loaded with personality. Just like the ones, yeah .

Speaker 7:

Oh, along the snake. That's tiny. It's an old rugby nickname from Adelaide university days where I wasn't particularly great player, but I um, I could rig my way through a small hole in the defense. What about you hearing my first name being Redmond, which often gets shortened to read again. When I was at university, I um, went on a surf trip up on the northwest of Western Australia. And on that trip, pretty much everything I took kept breaking leg ropes, boards' camp gear, you name. It was a bit of a bit of a disaster. So my friends I was with, they kept saying, you know, what's the next red herring that you're going to pull out by the end of the trip? They were calling me herring.

Speaker 6:

Well , what about the names of your wines? They're all named after music. I understand. Where does that sprout from?

Speaker 7:

So just before I left a previous employer and started sneaking herring, I just bought the best of radio head album. I was listening to the song high and dry and I kind of felt a bit that way. And that was a bit of an inspiration to go, you know what , uh , there's 20 years ahead of challenge and opportunity. So , uh, I kind of felt it was quite fitting that, you know, we're able to name one of our first wines high and dry.

Speaker 6:

Then about tough love for the Chardonnay

Speaker 7:

with tough love. Chardonnay is a intriguing variety to a bit of a hero in Margaret River and but it doesn't get there easily. Generally in the vineyard, there's a lot of work that goes on behind the scenes before it even gets into the winery. There's an awful lot of work that goes into the vineyard in a lot of tough love on vines and that spy became a great name for our first shot I

Speaker 8:

[inaudible]

Speaker 7:

I've been just recently, we did a catenary alo blend. We named it stranded by the sites . So this is an Ode to Tony's punk rock dies . We do love to tune out to that one

Speaker 8:

[inaudible]

Speaker 6:

we're sitting at in one of your vineyards and the sun's shining in us . It's light in the day. It's warm and gorgeous and they're kangaroos that are jumping up and down the fence line . We can't talk about a love lack of romance without talking about another love which is for the region and also for the food that comes out of this beautiful area you guys have. Recently I've been to restaurant Code Yari that's doing really, really well. Had all those loves connect for you guys.

Speaker 7:

I came to Margaret River because I loved surf the oceans, how clean they are, how prodigious they are, and I have a love for agriculture. Deep down that's probably the core and I think that's why I am hooked on the wine industry because you can grow something, you make it into wine and you can serve it at your restaurant with amazing projects. That's from this area in this area is it is special. It's very unique. It's unique because we're so isolated from the rest of the world really. It's a lovely maritime climate. It doesn't get extreme. So whatever you do here from an agricultural pursuit, growing or nurturing animals, even the indigenous plants at Aaron at Yari forages for it all.

Speaker 1:

Now to a couple who if the awards roll call is anything to go by, might be some of the best alchemists in the Margaret River region. Julian Langworthy is the wine maker at deep woods estate near yelling up at the regions northern end. The cabernet Sauvignon he makes for the label took out the most coveted award in the Australian wine industry in 2016 the Jimmy Watson memorial trophy. Then he was named 2019 one Micah of the year by respected critic James Halladay . His wife, Alana, meanwhile is holding her own in 2018 the $7 Samsa of blogs she made for the Coles Supermarket Label Story Bay was named Best Australian one under $20 the pair first met in South Australia when Julian hired Eliana as an assistant wine maker at a winery in the Coonawarra. I remember rocking up [inaudible]

Speaker 9:

and meeting this guy who was, you know, in his mid twenties at the time, crazy curly hair, deep booming voice, and you know, quite a respected wine maker in the area at the time too. And thinking, Gosh, I'm in trouble this vintage. We were young and made each other laugh and I was possibly slightly Austrac momentarily. Julian and Alana worked together for four months before she left him for France. Fortunately, the move wasn't permanent. I knew it must have been true love because I was working in, in Burgundy at the time and the entire time I kept thinking, Gosh, I think it could , maybe I need to go back. I think now I'm really like this guy, I need to go back. And so I left the job early to come back to live and work in Coonawarra , uh, for this boy that I'd met that vintage. So yeah, the rest is history. Things clearly worked out and as Julian says, the pair have been good for you.

Speaker 10:

Alana was a longterm vegetarian when we first met and um , and uh , I was still a good , um, country chain smoking boy. And so I gave up cigarettes and Alana gave up , um , vegetarianism. Um, it was probably not the best thing we both had ever done. Alon has got an amazing flare for food and , and fashion and fun , um, which are all quite compelling and wonderful and I've got a flare for food and fun. Not so much a flair for fashion, but you know, what are you going to do to edit three, eight bed? Um, you know, there's always something amazing around the next corner. Uh , nothing's ever too hard for Atlanta to achieve or to do something. She had heaps of fun, even to the point of moving to Western Australia, you know, it was never daunting. It was the next thing that would be a , a great adventure to do together.

Speaker 9:

Alana remembers how she felt when she arrived in Margaret River. First Beach I ever went to was Smith's beach. And I remember walking with Jules up and down the beach on quite a cold afternoon. But just thinking it was the most rugged, beautiful place I'd ever seen and it didn't feel remote to me. It felt homely for reason and to adventure through the region with someone who was raised here, you know, you do get that comfort. So yeah, I'd , I'd adore it . What was it like

Speaker 1:

you usually in to move home?

Speaker 10:

Uh, it was always my dream to be a one micro [inaudible] . So as a young one macro university, that was the idea. You know, like the best Cabernet in the world came from Margaret and the best Shodan and the world came from my Greivis . So why would you work anywhere else? I still actually truly believe that the best Cabernet in the world comes from Margaret River and the best Chardonnay in the world comes from Margaret River. It's just I had to go via France, Canada, quite a lot of time in South Australia to have an opportunity that was worth moving home for. It just all made sense. You know, like it's an amazing place to live. The beaches are gorgeous. We've got this beautiful old friends here. We live in the most spectacular location. You can imagine in the running up hills and yeah, the one is spectacular luck. It's the easiest and most rewarding place in the world to May one because the weather is so benign and the ones , the result in ones are just so wonderful.

Speaker 1:

But are there any clashes in this union of highly skilled winemakers , particularly when they collaborate on a side project, their own tiny wine label knocked 10.

Speaker 9:

Did they ever butt heads? Yes. Yeah . I think we're quite lucky in the sense that we approach the production of the wine from different angles. Jewels has this amazing ability to be quite myopic when he needs to be. No focuses on the minute details. Whereas I see the big picture, you know, how it's going to appeal to people or what it looks like or the biggest stuff. So he pulls me back into line and tells me that we don't get to the bigger picture without focusing on the other things. And I tell him to not be such a prick sometimes and focus on the , um , the myopic things despite the occasional TIF , sharing such strong passions is what keeps them strong. Absolutely. I really do think often it takes winemakers to be married to winemakers because we're a different bunch. Um, you know, there's a lot of dedication to the job, long hours. The fact that we connect over wine, food, travel, just life. It's such a lovely, effortless way to , to have a relationship because you just connect on so many levels. You know, there's always challenges and always something new and adventurous to do as a family. It's what keeps our relationship interesting and hopefully we'd stand the test of time in the long run.

Speaker 11:

[inaudible]

Speaker 1:

perhaps unsurprisingly, Margaret River is a popular spot for both proposals of marriage and weddings. The outlook at Rustico restaurant at hated , who winery lends itself to both things happening on a regular basis. Rustico is owner who's also the wedding coordinator. Vanessa Philippson says beauty and bragging rights are only part of the reason people that have fond memories here, they've either had holiday houses or family holidays or had family that

Speaker 12:

lived in the region. They often want to come back and share the beautiful spaces and wine. They had that opportunity to go and get married on the beach and then within 10 or 15 minutes, they're out of lineage enjoying their reception.

Speaker 6:

What are some of the more poignant moments, the beautiful ceremonies that people might have chosen?

Speaker 12:

There's one that particularly comes to mind, which is called a wine ceremony and you'd often think that that is blending of two different wines together, but on this occasion, the couple had purchased a beautiful magnum of premium wine, which came in a beautiful wooden box, and prior to their ceremony they had written letters to each other explaining what they adored about each other. At the ceremony, they opened the box, place the letters inside the box and close the box with the thought being that if times ever got tough, they would open the magnum, drink the wine, read the letters are in Iran , remind each other and what they loved about each other.

Speaker 6:

Isn't that gorgeous? Did you feel inspired by that daily? Now we're just sitting here having a lazy glass of sparkling and there's so much grass about so grain and you might be able to hear the wind in the gum trees that are just on our other side. You've been here a couple of years now. How do you see it when you pull up at the restaurant every day?

Speaker 12:

My first few weeks driving to work every day was past mark wines , deep woods era , Vena down Johnson road, cows, balls, a fox running across the road and then arriving on the corner of Metro Cup to see the beautiful undulation of vines shape between the vines and then four gorgeous horses on the corner and then I turn right into hay shed hill. It's pretty incredible. You can, you can see everything from the moment that you drive in that driveway. It, it definitely takes your breath away. The seasonality, I think of the region as well where all the vines get super lashing grain and then over the next three or four months, I guess it's the only place in Western Australia I feel that you can really see autumn by May . There's no wind, 22 degree days, clear blue skies. I think it's probably the best time of the year. Me Personally,

Speaker 6:

there's something about the air here. Can you describe what it could be?

Speaker 12:

Yeah, there's no clutter of the city. There's a lot of space, there's a lot of openness. Everyone always talks about the minute you sort of drive down south, how there's this lift of anything that you've left behind and it often happens when you probably hit Busselton . Is it about the air? Is it about the trees? Is it about the space? It's, you know, it's probably about all of those things

Speaker 8:

[inaudible]

Speaker 2:

Gosh, it almost makes me want to go out and tie the knot. What about you Fari well, I know it's probably not as possible for me, but yeah, I mean I can understand the feeling of romance that you know, would infect of a lot of people and so I guess

Speaker 1:

that does cane to make one dream. Maybe you can renew your vows. Oh, well love is grand , isn't it? No, absolutely. Especially in a place that Margaret used to love. Let's stick to that. You're listening to local musicians, Tilly k and dean Taylor and their track into the barrel by the Cullen . One Song Soundtrack , additional music by Josh Hogan and Ned Beckley. This podcast is supported by the international wine tourism grant funded by wine Australia, Margaret River wine association, Margaret River Busselton Tourism Association, Southwest Development Commission and Australia southwest. It's been scripted, recorded, and presented by May. Flow manger from white noise media sound designed by Tom Allen from barking wolf and produced by Sophie Mathewson. We acknowledged the were dandy salt water and forest people as the traditional owners of this region and remind you to walk softly on country for inspiration. Planning your trip to this beautiful part of the world. Is it Margaret river.com complex fruit driven.